Nando’s: Peri-Peri good

I was introduced to Nando’s in 2004 by a friend who was a regular and in the last decade I’ve been to Nando’s literally a hundred times. Why does a restaurant draw you back time and again? It could be the ambience, the service, the quality, the taste, the portion size, the variety or even the price. For me Nando’s provides all of these things.130553182785081947

So one lazy Saturday afternoon, my partner and I were in the Al Barsha area trying to figure out where to lunch (we have recently moved into the area so we still have some exploring to do). Nando’s came to mind and since I have started writing Pickle My Fancy it would serve a dual purpose – fodder for my blog and manna for our stomachs.

It’s hard not to smile as you walk into a branch of this chicken chain-restaurant and the one we went to in Al Barsha had a pleasant surprise for us – as it’s within a hotel, it serves alcohol. Not that I drink, but I know a nice chilled beer on a hot Dubai summer afternoon with spicy food would be the perfect gulp down.130553181816117495

The restaurant mascot is a brightly coloured cockerel, the national bird of Portugal, which, legend has it, saved a man’s life by crowing, despite the fact that it was already dead and ever since, the Barcelos Cockerel has been a symbol of faith, justice and good fortune. Although all Nando’s have their own special design, they all have earthy textures and colours that remind you of Nando’s South African-Portuguese roots. Adorning the walls are original South African art and unique design touches.130553183771034349

The chain began life in South Africa when its founders took over a Johannesburg peri-peri restaurant called Chickenland (now I know why they chose to change the name when they rolled it out.) The formula: chicken, marinated for 24 hours and grilled to order with the addition of various levels of chilli; customers served at table and a “bottomless glass” of fizzy drinks. Nando’s is a casual restaurant rather than a fast-food one – another aspirational touch.

My lunching partner ordered the ¼ chicken (extra hot) with 2 side orders – spicy rice and coleslaw (AED 42). With the ¼ chicken you get to choose what part you would like – breast or leg. I on the other hand went the tried-and-tested-and-not-yet-failed Chicken Espetada (medium spicy) – tender marinated chicken thighs and fresh peppers, served on a skewer with 2 sides orders – assorted fries which comes at an additional AED 3 (did not want the veggies and did not want their regular fries) and shredded corn (you could chose to have the corn on the cob instead) (AED 66).130553184655522973

You can order your main course at different levels of spice, from the manly (sorry I don’t mean to be sexist, but in my experience only the men have so far dared tried it) extra hot peri-peri to the girlish lemon and herb. My advice to you would be go with medium or mild and once it comes you can always add more of the peri peri sauce from the table.

The chicken in both our plates were juicy, perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious. Of all the peri-peri sauce flabours, my favourite is the galic peri-peri and that is something that no Nando’s meal is every complete without. To put it simply we had another fantastic, satisfying meal at Nando’s.130553185765967856

Overall, this is a cut above your average chicken joint and is well worth a visit if your taste-buds are looking for a serious tickling. I know I will be back!

Location: Resto 1-G, Novotel Suites Hotel, Near Mall of the Emirates (Opposite Golden Tulip Apartments), Al Barsha 1, Dubai Tel: +971 4 392 1144 Open from 12 pm – 12am

Nando’s Restaurants around Dubai (please note: no alcohol is available at any of the locations listed below):  

Dubai Marina:  Shop 22, Trident Marina Boulevard, Marina Walk, Dubai Marina, Dubai

Tel: +971 4 4541404, 600542525

Dubai Internet City: Building 6, Oracle Building, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Tel: +971 4 3685680

The Greens: Ground Level, Turia, Street 7, The Greens, Dubai Tel: +971 4 3608080, 600542525

Downtown Dubai: Ground Level, Tower No. 4, E24, Burj Residences 1, Downtown Dubai, Dubai Tel: +971 4 4224882

Dubai Mall: Food Court, Lower Ground Level, Dubai Mall, Dubai Tel: +971 4 4340190

Sheikh Zayed Road: Ground Floor, Saeed Tower 2, Sheikh Zayed Road, Trade Centre Area, Dubai Tel: +971 4 3212000

Al Rigga: Ground Level, Al Ghurair Centre, Al Rigga, Deira, Dubai Tel: +971 4  2211992

Mirdif: Level 1, Food Court Area, Arabian Center, Mirdif, Dubai Tel: +971 4 2845678

Mirdif: Level 1, Mirdif City Centre, Mirdif, Dubai

For Home delivery call 600 54 25 25